Friday, August 11, 2017

The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal

Summary from Goodreads:

"It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.

A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.

The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born."

My Thoughts:

I've got to say that I'm a streak with reading some really great books lately.  This book was a brilliant beginning to a new mystery series - I need more books just like this!  I was intrigued by this book just from reading the above summary which meant that I couldn't resist the chance of reading it.  The idea of the birth mother being drawn into the search of the missing daughter that she's never met (or wanted to even) can you resist a premise like that?  I just knew that this was going to be a good read but what I didn't expect was how dark of a read that this was going to be.  Nora is not your typical leading female detective in a mystery novel.  She isn't even really a detective but instead works for a lawyer and businessman as an almost human lie detector.  She has all of these issues relating to her past, doesn't have any normal relationships, and is a recovering alcoholic.  She is basically kind of a mess but I loved her!  Even when she was making crappy decisions I was rooting for her.  I wanted to know more about what had happened to her even though there were enough clues that I could guess.  She just was one of those main characters that really stood out for me, and I'm looking forwarding to reading more books featuring her.  I also really enjoyed the mystery portion of this book.  I found myself reading this one for long periods of time which hasn't happened all too often lately.  It was a page turner and one of the things that kept me reading way too late into the night was just trying to see what trouble Nora was going to get herself into next.  And then I kept reading to see if she would get out of it of course.  Ha!  I loved that this book was set in Canada which is a place I've never had the chance to visit but would like to.  I felt like I was really there while reading, and reading about the colder weather made this feel like the perfect fall read (although I read it a bit too early for that).  The ending was super intense and left me wanting more.  

Overall I have to say that I'm left very excited about this author and this series.  This book really stood out for me as it is different from a lot of the mystery series that I've read.  I've come to the conclusion that mystery series featuring lone female main characters is kind of my reading catnip.  I just can't seem to get enough.  This book wasn't any different and Nora is one of those characters that I won't be forgetting about any time soon.  I feel like I'm rambling at this point but this book was just that good.  I cannot wait to see what other readers think!  I would recommend this book mystery fans as well as those readers who enjoy a good thriller.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A dark mystery that I just couldn't put down.  I need more!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Love & Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea

Summary from Goodreads:

"After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.

When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer."

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed my time reading this book!  It is always delightful when a book just transports you to another place.  Reading this book made me feel like I was there in the French countryside with Katherine and her husband.  I've never had the chance to visit France but I could certainly picture what it must be like with this book.  The descriptions of the food, the countryside....I just couldn't get enough of all of it!  This was a quiet read that I just took my time with.  I loved Katherine's character so much.  The descriptions of the different items she would find at the market and the little thrift shop finds she had come across just fit in so perfectly with the atmosphere of the book.  I really can't say enough good things about just the feel of this book.  Although there was a murder mystery happening, what I enjoyed most about this book was everything else.  Don't get me wrong, I found the mystery portion interesting but it was the other parts that made this cozy mystery stand out for me!

Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was all of the other characters.  There were a variety of characters in this book each different from the other.  It made the book fun to read as you never knew what some of the characters were getting up to.  I liked the chances that we had to get to know some of these characters as it also helped to make me feel like I was really there within the story.  As to the mystery itself, I guessed parts of it but was incorrect as to the reasons why.  In fact, I really missed a good portion of the whodunnit completely which made the ending more intense than I had expected.  I seriously felt like I was questioning what was going on right until the author decided to share the truth with the reader.  It was a solid read and I'm eager to visit this quiet French village again!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am hoping that this is the beginning to a cozy mystery series.  It would be really great  to have the chance to visit with these characters (and especially Katherine) again!  I loved my time in this world that the author created - I almost wasn't ready to leave by the time the story ended.  I really think that those readers who like a quieter mystery should give this one a shot as I'm sure that they will enjoy it as much as I did!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A book whose atmosphere just pulled me into the world that the author created.  I loved every minute of it!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.